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The New Jersey district removes Thomas Jefferson from the school’s name due to John Smith

Jefferson Elementary School in South Orange, New Jersey has decided to change its name for a year-long campaign to distance itself from the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.



After a year-long campaign, a New Jersey elementary school will no longer bear the name of Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves.

In South Orange, New Jersey, NJ Advance Media reports that Jefferson Elementary School will be renamed Delia Bolden Elementary School to honor the first Black woman to graduate from high school in the area.

Students voted on a list of potential names. Many of the suggested names referred to local figures, while others made no allusion to the living or the dead.

There were other options like “New Legacy Elementary School” or “Ruth Bader Ginsberg Elementary School.”


The school says that students came up with the idea and spearheaded the project. Professors, however, have been very vocal in their backing of and assistance to this movement.

Board member Qawi Telesford said, “I want to make that point that Thomas Jefferson owned over 600 slaves,” during a June meeting on the topic. “Since he only freed two people while he was alive and seven more after his death, I have a 1.5% chance of being free in Thomas Jefferson’s world. Because of this, I feel no gratitude toward him. There are many people I owe a debt of gratitude to for making it possible for me to be here with you today, free and on the board.”

Activists in Chicago are opposed to renaming a school after “oppressor” Barack Obama.

The head of the school was pleased with the verdict.

Superintendent Ronald Taylor said, “Seeing the work that (the students) did, I think, exceeded the expectations of all of us who participated in that conversation, when that was the final outcome, to really engage our students and make this a real-life civics lesson with really strong connections to governance.”

In the United States, there has been a growing trend of renaming schools after people who were once revered but are now seen as evil or immoral.

After it was determined that both Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Webster either owned slaves or supported slavery, the Waukegan Board of Education in Chicago proposed renaming both middle schools last year.